Woo-wee!! Do you smell that? Spring is here!

Ramps grow from South Carolina to Canada, and in many areas they’re considered a spring delicacy or “tonic” West Virginia is known for having ramp festivals and almost every little community has a ramp dinner as a fundraiser. The flavor of ramps is similar to onions and garlic, but the odor is particularly strong. In most cases it are so strong that if you sit down to a big meal of ramps, don’t be surprised if people  keep their distance for a few days!
Odor warnings aside, ramps add a unique flavor to soups, egg dishes, casseroles, rice dishes and potato dishes. Use them raw or cooked, add them to scrambled with eggs or fried with potatoes. Just cut off roots, rinse thoroughly, and scrub off any excess dirt.

Ramps are only available for a short time, but you can freeze or can them..

Ramps has a folk medicine reputation known as “Spring Tonic”. They are supposed to be good for the heart, thin the blood and relieve the common cold and if you eat enough of them they WILL keep the neighbors away. Actually, they are high in Vitamins C and A, and full of healthful minerals and they have the same cholesterol reducing capacity found in garlic.

There are a lot of ways that I fix ramps. One being in my pepperoni rolls or bread, but, those are popular item most places you go, so I will for go the recipes for those. As a suggestion, try some in your biscuits or cornbread. Also the Butter Recipe is great.

Ramp Butter

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 to 3 ramps, cleaned, white part minced, green parts halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Transfer butter to a piece of plastic wrap and roll gently to form an even log; wrap and twist ends to seal. Butter may be kept refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Pickled Ramps

1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon alum

Clean ramps, keeping bulbs only. Pack tightly in jars. Add 1/4 teaspoon alum to each pint. Bring liquid mixture to boil, pour over ramps. Continue making liquid, enough to cover all ramps to be pickled. Process sealed jars in boiling water bath for 5 minutes to seal lids.
*Sometimes, just depending on the mood, I throw in other ingredients for example, crushed red peppers, celery seed, dill weed or seed etc.

Ramp Dill Pickles
1 qt. vinegar
2 qt. water
2 sprigs fresh dill weed to jar
1 gal. small cucumbers
1 c. salt
1 tsp. alum
2 medium-sized ramps to a jar
Put dill and ramps in jars, pack cucumbers on top. Pour boiling water over cucumbers. Let set until mixture is ready.
Mix vinegar, water and salt together; bring to a boil. Drain water off cucumbers; pour boiling mixture over cucumbers and seal jar. Fresh ramps are best to use although if you have some in the freezer you may use them.

Ramp Dip

8 oz. package cream cheese
2 cups sour cream
20 ramps
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
Blanch 15 ramps including tops, cool, then chop finely. Mix sour cream and softened cream cheese together.
Add cayenne pepper, salt and chopped ramps. Chop the raw ramps, finely, and add to mixture.
Serve with crackers or bite size pieces of French bread or the favorite at our house is Beer Bread.

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